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Rev Blair

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About Rev Blair

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  • Birthday October 6

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  • Location
    Winnipeg, Canada
  • Interests
    politics, photography, carpentry
  • Favorite Area of Science
  • Occupation
    freelance writer
  1. Hold on a second there, Bubalooee...I hope there's somebody else here old enough to remember that cartoon. I don't mean to imply for a second that the show is legitimate or that ghosts exist, just that the people in it aren't committing purposeful fraud. I've known quite a few true believers over the years, and I'd rather deal with purposeful frauds because you can expose a fraud. You can't expose a true believer though...they want to believe and can rationalize anything. Their rationalizations even make sense on the surface. I don't think the guys on the plumber/ghost show are trying to fool anybody, I just think they are fooling themselves.
  2. Several universities offer distance learning courses. Whether you can get a full degree that way, I'm not sure. I know that the universities of Waterloo, Carleton, Winnipeg, and BC all offer distance learning because their classes used to be available on my TV in the middle of the night, but I never looked into it beyond that. Sometimes arthritis-induced insomnia can be quite educational.
  3. Rev Blair

    broken glasses

    Umm, why don't you just go get some new ones? That's what I do when I break my glasses. Actually, I get my wife to take me, since I can't drive without glasses.
  4. These plumber guys seem to be on the level...I don't think they are purposely defrauding anybody. I've been watching them for most of the summer, since there's nothing else on in that time slot and the show doesn't usually distract me much, and they seem to debunk hauntings about as much as they confirm them. They also try to be scientific. The thing is that they are true believers and, since nobody knows what a ghost is or how to detect it, they are using technology designed for other purposes and interpreting the results according to pseudo-science established only in the popular imagination, not reality. They can't go to experts in the technology because the experts tend not to be true believers and will shatter the plumbers' illusions.
  5. We had a Canadian Prime Minister who pointed out that an election was no time to discuss policy. She lost the election, she was really a sacrificial lamb tossed in to take the fall for her predecessor, but I think she was right. An election is kind of like professional wrestling...a lot of posturing and yelling...theatrics, but not much deep thought. The thought happens before. I've looked at Obama's record and his policies, and I'm of the opinion that there's more depth there than I've seen from presidential contender in my lifetime. Does that translate into campaign rhetoric? Not a chance. It might fit into a long format print interview in the format popular in the early 1960's, but trying to explain any real policy in today's media environment is almost impossible. Do all of his supporters understand, or even know about, the policies and the record behind the rhetoric? Hell no. It's complex and a lot of it is dull as hell. If you look at any political campaign, successful or not, there are always a lot of supporters there for emotional gratification, not because of policy.
  6. It shouldn't be a problem, but there are a few things that might come up. The first is that many small engines use a mixture of plastic and rubber parts in their fuel systems. some of those materials dissolve when exposed to alcohol. Make sure that all parts in the fuel system are compatible with ethanol use. The next is small 2-stroke engines. These are the ones that use a fuel/oil mixture instead of having a separate lubrication system. They gum up if you leave fuel in them whether that fuel is ethanol or gasoline. Third would be evaporation. E-10 is 10% ethanol, E-85 is 85% ethanol. Ethanol evaporates faster than gasoline, so that mixture will change if left to sit in an open system. Many small engines, like those on yard equipment, have a carburetor and a vented gas cap, so the system is open. They also don't have computer-controlled fuel and ignition systems, so can be tuned only to one kind of fuel. As somebody who still drives trucks with carbs instead of fuel injection, I can tell you that evaporation is a problem now even with conventional gasoline. I have no data, but I think the fuel makers are doing less to inhibit evaporation since it isn't an issue in fuel injected (closed system) vehicles. If you aren't using an engine or the fuel that powers it regularly, I suggest getting a fuel stabilizer suitable for your fuel type. If you can't find it at your regular auto parts store, try a speed shop that caters to the hot rodders and racers.
  7. Even if the technology they were using was cheap, there was a kind of consistency to the effect though, ecoli. That leads me to believe that it was external to the technology, like bad lighting and dust in conventional photography. I've seen a lot of images of ghosts and UFOs on similar shows that were obviously an internal reflection in the lens, usually of the aperture, and this didn't seem like that.
  8. Well, that's something I was wondering Cap'n. I have no experience with this kind of technology. I do know a fair bit about building technology and air flows and a lot about photography. I've even picked up a little about why "voices" show up in the white noise on tapes. I know virtually nothing about heat-imaging though.
  9. I was watching (well, half-watching) some ghost-hunting plumbers on Space last night and there was segment where they had a heat-imaging camera on a psychic doing a reading. They got some results that they allegedly couldn't explain...of course they didn't go to any experts in the technology looking for answers, just said they couldn't explain it. Now normally I have no trouble debunking the various photographic effects that allegedly prove the existence of ghosts, goblins, and aliens because I spent several years in the photographic industry and am pretty well-versed in what happens with cheap optics, airborne dust, and people too dim to understand basic lighting techniques. I'm not familiar with the heat-imaging technology though, so I'm a little intrigued. Not intrigued enough to do actual research, mind you, but enough to hope somebody has an easy to understand explanation. The situation is this: They were in an old house, so it would have been drafty etc. A mixture of colours seemed to flow from the person having the reading done to the "medium". The medium raised and lowered his hand and the colours subsided. The colours were a mix of reds and yellows, with a large green patch above. The reds seemed to emanate from the face and neck of the person being read (his uncovered skin) and the yellows from his body region (covered by clothing). The greens seemed to be from above. My personal guess: I'm guessing that green represents a cooler temperature than yellow or red. That leads me to believe that there was a draft that took body heat from the person being read towards the medium. When the medium raised and lowered his arm, he disrupted the air-flow, causing the warm and cold air to mix and the colours to subside. My questions: Is heat-imaging technology sensitive enough to detect something like that? Does the human body give off enough heat to affect that kind of technology over three to five feet (the distance between the medium and his subject)? Why do ghost-hunting plumbers have a show on Space? Wouldn't it be better to just show yet another Star Trek re-run?
  10. Free market economics simply don't work. Deregulation leads to bad business practices and corruption, bad business practices and corruption lead to market collapses. We learned after 1929, but we forgot it again. Most of it is also incredibly short-sighted. Look at the environmental problems we face, and most of them come from a lack of regulation of industry. Look at shrinking wages and growing wage disparity. How is it good for CEOs to make millions while the people who do the actual work can barely afford to pay for food and shelter?
  11. So they are more important because some of your tax money was used to train them? I guess that makes my dogs more important than most of the people on the planet, since I use my money to feed them. As for indiscriminate bombing, why was the BBC/Al Jazeera office blown up? Why were so many villages bombed? Why was infrastructure such as power stations and water supply targeted in both Afghanistan and Iraq? Why the use of depleted uranium and daisy cutters in both Afghanistan and Iraq? If the military doesn't believe in indiscriminate bombing, then they better start bringing whoever okayed those things up on charges. It's not just my opinion though, it is at the base of the "hearts and minds" argument your military has alluded to since at least Vietnam. It's been discussed by policy expert after policy expert. Ah, but the major argument against, made by the pharmaceutical companies and their friends in western governments, is that there is a glut of medicinal opiates on the market. In the rich western/northern countries that's true, but in the developing world the opposite is happening, and poor people in the developed world often cannot afford those same medicines at current prices. The pharmaceutical corporations are afraid they'll lose some of their profit margin (there is no patent on morphine) so the poppies aren't being made legal. Yeah, Le Monde reported that two or three years ago. You really should spend more time perusing the international press. You should also realize that he's known as "The Mayor of Kabul" because things are in such a mess that he's afraid to go out and about...a good chunk of the country does not recognize him as their leader, and that's not limited to the Taliban. Hell, he used to be part of the Taliban. Oh come on. Karzai was hand-picked by NATO. A lot of our warlord buddies were too. Those warlords use their positions to settle old disputes and smuggle heroin. Meanwhile, these old men who are good buddies with Bush and company kicked Malalai Joya out of parliament even though she was duly elected. She spoke out against the warlords, you see. Not a peep from the US and Canada (or Britain, the Netherlands, Poland, etc...) over that. There's not much point in freeing somebody if they're dead. My argument is not about making the US wrong either...keep in mind that Canada is one of the few countries also involved in that quagmire in southern Afghanistan.
  12. Bush has gone out of his way...fought all the way to the Supreme Court...to keep his meetings with oil executives as secret as possibly. Oil has been considered a national security issue in the US since at least the 1970's. Bush's top advisors all have links to the oil industry. Oil companies have wanted back into Iraq for about three decades. Oil companies have been given no bid contracts. Bremer de-nationalized the oil industry (this is actually against US and international law, since making such large changes to a country's economy is a no-no). I could go on for pages. It may just be circumstantial evidence, but there is a whole lot of it. At the very least you, Pangloss, should be screaming that the contents...full transcripts...of what was discussed at those meetings with executives be released to the public.
  13. I happen to live in a temperate to arctic region. I won't speculate on what the weather here was like during the LIA, but in the present: It is the heat that generates summer storms. That's no big mystery...heat causes the water to evaporate and forms clouds etc. In the winter, it has to be relatively warm to storm. It seldom snows when it is really cold, and it's usually right around the freezing mark when a blizzard starts. It usually cools over the course of the blizzard, and the snow stops falling. That's not much of a mystery either...cold air lacks the capacity to hold as much moisture. That's why the current arctic is so dry as well, with most of the precipitation coming in the spring and fall. Of course that's changing now, what with global warming and all.
  14. Why is this just a conspiracy theory? Bush and Cheney are known to be connected to the oil companies, and they have a record of letting their corporate pals write policy...remember Enron? Kucinich is also much more than just a former press secretary. He's an elected representative and he ran in the presidential primaries. Trying to just write him off as another conspiracy theorist is unfair.
  15. Why are they more important at all? Why are their lives more valuable than a civilian's? That's the real purpose of bombs and artillery, to keep the soldiers safe. The flip side of that is that damage to civilians and the infrastructure those civilians depend on is increased. Isn't it? Perhaps that attitude is why occupying armies tend to lose insurgencies. Except that's not what we've done. We've put people in office. We only let our buddies run for office, and the highest office in the land is held by an oil company shill. Corruption is massive. There is no freedom of the press...there are journalists locked up for questioning the Koran. Women are still badly abused. Actually, I wouldn't have. I would have paid hard cash for the crop and set up processing facilities to make medicine. The developing world, and the underprivileged in the developed world could use all that that was produced. We don't want that to happen because we can't profit from it. Even without the shortage of opiate-based medicine for poor people, even if the product was going to be heroin, I wouldn't burn the crops that represent the only cash crop available to those people. They aren't the ones with the drug problem after all, Europe and North America are. Again, I'd buy the crop. Then it could be burned or whatever. Except that there were opportunities. We didn't take them and let the situation get way out of hand. We could have gone in when the Russians left, before the Taliban gained too much power. We could have not funded the people we did when the Russians were there, for that matter. We could have invoked the duty to protect long ago and gone in. We could have used pressure through our allies in area. We did none of those things. Doing those things couldn't even be discussed without the people who now claim to be there in the name of democracy and protecting women shouting you down.
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